My senior year at Belmont High School, in downtown Los Angeles, California, my US History teacher, Mr. Schaffer, showed us students a movie of Cesar Chavez and the Farmworkers Struggle in California. I was hit by a an emotional wave and just captured my heart. The sadness of the life of the farmworker and the uglyness of the campaign led by Cesar Chavez against the California Growers was just a rollercoaster of emotions. My pride of being Mexican and seeing my culture insuted by the Growers and Teamsters was hurtful. At the same I felt proud at seeing the Mexican/Chicano farmworker being led by Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta in a peaceful campaign against the powerfull California Growers and Corporations to provide fair labor wages and working conditions. Thei success of Cesar Chavez and the UFW to bring the struggle of the farmworker to a global stage was just unbelieveable. To see Cesar Chavez dedicate his whole life to those that were forgotten by society was just pure dedication and Love. I was changed forever.
I attended UCLA in 1971 and followed Chesar Chavez and the farmworker struggle in California and other states in the union. I was also made aware of the struggle of other Ethnic Minorities in the US.. I met Cesar Chavez at a speech he made at UCLA. It was just such an experience seeing a true People’s Hero on stage sharing his message of Human Justice.
Graduating from College in 1976 I decided to go into education and dedicate my life to educatiing the youth on the struggle of those who seek justice and human rights. During my career as a High School Teacher in Pomona, California, Cesar Chavez visited my school, Pomona High School, and spoke with my M.E.Ch.A. students at a dinner sponsored by M.E.Ch.A.. My students and the community of Pomona will never forget his visit in 1989. All were touched by such a great statesman and kind leader. His visit was the highlight of my career as a teacher.
After teaching for 35 years, I still can say that no man has had a greater impact on my life than Cesar Chavez. He has earned a place in history as a person who has changed the face of humanity and has brought dignity and respect to the farmworkers of the world.